If someone told me I would give up coffee, sugar, pasta, milk, cheese, chocolate and cake for three whole months, I would think they were insane! What madness would possess me to do such a thing?! But that was the old me. New me, well, new me is all about no gluten, dairy, sugar and caffeine.
I blame Beatrice and her many [MANY] cousins of course! Who is this forsaken Beatrice you ask? As you know from one of our previous blog posts, I am talking about Beatrice the Pimple. Pimples and acne have been the bane of my existence, my Darth Vader to my Luke Skywalker. I am 27, and still getting inflamed cystic acne. It wasn’t even hormonal, as I had acne at all the times of the month. It kind of got to the point where I was so tired of battling pimples every day that I just wanted to stay home all the time and not face the world.
It was during this low point, that the best thing ever that has happened to me in this Century after Netflix, occurred. I found the Clear Skin Experts. Straightaway, I booked in an appointment with Mel who is a naturopath at Clear Skin Experts. We talked at length about all my lifestyle issues which may be impacting on my skin. This included diet, sleep, exercise, mental health and family history. Essentially, everything which would have a profound affect on my health and my skin. Taking this data, Mel suggested that the best way to test what was going on with my skin was to get a blood test and start a clean diet to determine if my gut health was affecting my skin.
My blood test results showed I might be lagging in my liver function and my thyroid function. Further, my blood sugar levels were spiking quiet frequently. To Mel it indicated there may be something at play in my body and we should test this by cutting out caffeine, sugars, gluten and dairy from my diet, for a period of 12 weeks. Now I was kind of prepared that she would ask me to cut down things but I didn’t realise what a huge impact this would have on my daily routine.
My first few thoughts were what would I eat?! There was no way I could possibly eat like that for 1 day, let alone 12 weeks. But not to worry, Mel worked with me and equipped me with the skills I would need to get through the 12 weeks.
She gave me a list of foods that I should focus on eating which would make up a no dairy, gluten, sugar and caffeine diet. We talked at length about what I would have at breakfast, what I would have for lunch etc. Mel also provided me with examples of what she has in her fridge. Taking this away, I studied the diet and made the diet conducive to my lifestyle. This meant I would meal prep Sundays and Wednesdays. A huge struggle was giving up Roti (not everyone is perfect), but alas, not to fear, I found a replacement flour to use – buckwheat flour! (it seriously works, water and buckwheat flour is all you need).
In terms of introducing greens in the morning, I wasn’t sure I could down a huge meal as I usually don’t have time, so I went with brown rice cakes with avo. Lunch was made of buckwheat Roti with a vegetarian curry and salad, or homemade pasta sauce with meatballs with brown rice pasta and salad, or some kind of brown rice with vegetable chicken stew. My dinners would be some of my lunches given I that I would meal prep, but instead of salad I would incorporate roast vegetables. My snacks went from chocolate and cookies to fruit and nuts, and of course plenty of water and herbal tea.
The first few weeks were incredibly hard and I didn’t know if I would be able to survive that long!! But once I got over the first 2 to 3 weeks, my body detoxed and my cravings reduced greatly that I was no longer possessed by the great Sugar Demon to grab a pastry with a chai latte.
In terms of physical results, during the first few weeks of my diet my skin was still inflamed and subjected to cystic acne. At the 4-5 week mark, I could tell in a way that my skin was calming down. I was no longer feeling any underlying congestion while washing my face – something I had previously always felt. By the time I got to the 8 week mark, my skin had improved dramatically and I started using less makeup (mind you, I still have scarring and pigmentation). Having less bumps on my skin made me feel more confident and inspired me to continue on the diet for the full 12 weeks.
At the 12 week mark, it was obvious that my skin had cleared a lot. And when Mel said she didn’t have to see me anymore, I knew the diet had worked. My skin has not been this good in years!! This diet has taught me how to eat better, the impact of certain foods (how gluten and sugars increase insulin, caffeine impact on cortisone response and dairy with all the associated hormones) on my gut function and that my diet has a strong impact on my acne.
From this experience, I’ve learnt that the keys to succeeding in this diet to impact your skin positively are:
- Meal prepping
- Commitment and mindset
My skin journey isn’t over yet, as I will continue to work with Clear Skin Experts and therapist Haley to clear my scars and my pigmentation with skin needling. Once I finish this process, I can’t wait to go makeup free on a daily basis. And finally tie my hair in new and interesting ways that I was too scared to do before. You see, throughout my acne journey I had become incredibly self conscious of my pimples and ugly scarring, so my hair had became a security blanket in hiding my spots and specks. Working with Clear Skin Experts has increased my confidence and I feel like I’m finally on top of my skin issues. I’m grateful that I was able to meet Mel and learn from her, and I hope this post helps you in your skin journey – whatever your issues may be. As an aside, during this time I have also been using the Dermaviduals skincare range to help target pimples with topical treatments. While the topical treatments did assist, I have always been looking for a long-term solution which I believe my diet provides.
Stay tuned as we will post another blog on the Dermaviduals products and skin needling once I complete my treatments.
– Superstitiously yours x